Wouldn't it be great if you crawled into bed one night and woke up the next morning a thinner you? While it won't happen overnight, new research from Harvard University suggests losing weight while you sleep isn't as far fetched as it sounds!
For the study, researchers examined the sleep habits of 133,353 healthy women. Over the span of 10 years, women who slept well were 45% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes when compared with those who had trouble falling asleep, snored, slept less than 6 hours, or had sleep apnea.
Late Nights Can Lead To Munchies
When circadian rhythms get out of sync, your body is prone to producing more ghrelin, the hormone that increases your appetite. This could lead to weight gain and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, says the study's lead author Yanping Li, M.D., Ph.D., a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. To make matters worse, not getting enough sleep decreases your body's production of leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full.
There is another reason that lack of sleep can lead to an expanding waist line. Prior research from the University of California, Berkeley discovered that sleep deprivation makes the reward centers in the brain light up like the 4th of July after eating indulgent foods. A study from the Mayo Clinic found that cutting just 80 minutes from one's regular sleep schedule could lead to eating an average of 549 extra calories a day!
Horrible Sleep Leads To Stress
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that those who slept 8.5 hours a night lost twice as much weight as those who slept 5.5 hours a night, despite consuming the same number of calories.
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Li points to the fact that recent findings have concluded that lack of sleep leads to an increased production of the stress hormone, cortisol which can cause inflammation and trouble with insulin, leading, of course, to weight gain.
Sleeping Off Extra Weight Is Possible (Sort Of)
Getting enough sleep is obviously not the only thing that matters when it comes to weight loss but it is pretty important. “When approaching weight loss, I tell my patients to imagine a three-legged stool, each one representing diet, exercise, and sleep,” says Alexandra Sowa, M.D., clinical instructor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Without one of the legs, the whole effort will collapse.” In other words, getting enough sleep will not make up for eating poorly and avoiding the gym (need help cleaning up your diet? Try the Body Rock Meal Plan
How To Sleep Your Way To Weight Loss
Here are some tips to follow if you want to improve your sleep and wake up a little lighter:
1. Aim for 6.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep.
In a study from Brigham Young University, women who slept between 6.5 and 8.5 hours a night had the smallest risk of gaining fat.
2. Sleep at the same time every night.
The BYU study also found that going to sleep at the same time every night was essential for keeping fat at bay.
3. Turn down the thermostat.
Sleeping in a colder room (like one around 66.2 degrees), increases your levels of healthy brown fat, revs your metabolism, and improves insulin sensitivity.
4. Draw the blinds.
Women who sleep in dark rooms are 21% less likely to be obese than those who sleep in light rooms, according to a 2014 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology
5. Power down your gadgets.
The blue light from your smart phone, tablet, computer and/or television decreases your body's melatonin levels. Melatonin is the chemical that allows you to fall asleep. Research from the University of Granada in Spain found that reduced levels of melatonin can lead to weight gain. Turn off all of your electronics at least 30 minutes before bed time.
6. Don't forget the other factors.
As mentioned before, getting enough sleep will not make up for the damage caused by making poor food choices and being sedentary all day. If you need to find ways to move your body each day, try SweatFlix℠
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Are you getting enough sleep at night? Do you see it playing a role in your weight loss efforts?
Source: Women's Health